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Volunteers vital in preventing 'bed blocking' by elderly

Published on 24 January 2018 11:27 AM

Home from hospital

A growing army of volunteers is being relied upon to take the pressure off the NHS. The unpaid workers ensure patients can be discharged when they are ready, rather than block beds or be swiftly re-admitted because they don’t have any support at home.

Age UK Wandsworth matches hospital patients with volunteers who will visit for a period of 6 weeks and help with jobs around the house, encourage gentle exercise, collect prescriptions and sign-post to further support and care services if required.

Age UK Wandsworth Chief Executive, Rachel Corry, said 'Bed blocking and ‘boomerang’ hospital re-admissions are significant problems in the NHS and very often its elderly patients who are caught up in this as they simply don’t have the support to make the transition home from hospital'

'Over and above the illness for which they were admitted, patients are often weak and disorientated which makes it hard for them to cope at home. They may also have suffered a loss of confidence which can compound the issue and they may struggle  to get out of their home and are cut off from the outside world and worsen their general wellbeing'

‘In the last year we have provided support to over 150 older people who have been referred to us by the hospital staff. 100% of those people said that the support at home helped them with their recovery and recuperation and 87% said that the support helped them to manage independently alone’

‘Since 2010 spending on adult social care in the London boroughs has fallen by 12 per cent in real terms at a time when the population of those looking for support has increased by 14 per cent* and so the role of the voluntary sector will become even more important’

*source –